Yesterday, a psycho gunman shot and killed Bill Gwatney, Arkansas' Democratic party state chairman. The initial reports say that it was not likely a political killing, but rather personal -- one account said the shooter had been laid off from Gwatney's Chevrolet dealership.
That didn't keep the usual nuts from saying this was part of the "right-wing hate machine" and blamed talk radio, Fox News, right-wing bloggers, and anyone else they don't like for this crime.
Oddly enough, there was another incident in the news recently that comes a lot closer to political terrorism than this one shooting of one state chairman. And that was the death of a man in Denver this week.
Let's play connect the dots: start with a Somali Muslim living in Canada. Then have him travel to the city that in just a few days will be hosting the Democratic National Convention. Then have him die in a hotel room. Finally, have police search the room and find a POUND of cyanide -- enough poison to kill a couple hundred people, if distributed and delivered properly.
Some lone nut? I'm not so sure. I did some checking, and the Burnsley Hotel -- where Saleman Abdirahman Dirie died -- is NOT a cheap hotel. I just checked online, and rooms start at $199 a night. Mr. Dirie was in that room, dead, for six days before his body was found, so there's about $1200 sunk into just rent. Toss in transportation and acquiring the cyanide and other expenses, and this was obviously no impulsive, fly-by-night operation.
The FBI says there's no apparent connection to terrorism, but I'm not buying it.
Now, I'm looking forward to chaos at the Democratic National Convention as anyone. I've been thrilling to the accounts of the anarchists, the nutjobs, the whole "Re-Create '68" movement, and all the rest of the loonies showing up and planning on making things go all higgledy-piggledy for the Democrats, as the loony birds come home to roost. I intend to nuke up some popcorn and laugh my ass off.
But those are Americans, acting in an American way.
What Mr. Dirie apparently wanted to do was not disrupt, not call attention to his pet cause, but murder hundreds of Democrats.
No, strike that. Yes, they are Democrats, but first and foremost they are Americans. Americans participating in the political process, exercising their Constitutional rights to shape events and influence policy and help choose our next government.
That's something that transcends politics. Or, at least, it ought to.
The FBI says there's no apparent connection to terrorism. As I said, I'm not buying it. I'm hearing that as "we haven't found any conclusive evidence of conspiracy as of this moment."
I can not believe that Mr. Dirie was acting alone. There was a support mechanism behind him, one that helped him get the money and the material and the know-how together (although apparently not enough of the last part) to go to the site of the Democratic National Convention over a week in advance with enough poison to kill hundreds of people. I want them identified, I want them hunted down, and I want them killed.
I guess I'm feeling a bit like an older brother to the Democrats. Yes, I smack them around quite a bit, but just because I do it, that doesn't give anyone outside the "family" the same right. There's a huge difference between the dope-slaps I administer and an all-out assault. Then, it becomes a case of "hey, nobody smacks them around like that except me!" and I want to get seriously medieval on their asses.
Nutcases will always find a way to kill a couple of people, here and there. Or, if we're lucky, just scare folks for a little bit. In the long run, they rarely have much of an influence on events. (Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Leon Czolgosz, Charles Guiteau, and Arthur Bremer being notable exceptions.)
No, the really big problems are caused by organized groups, grand conspiracies, and nation-states. The Lincoln assassination was a comedy of errors where only one part came off as planned. The Iranian hostage crisis was a form of mob rule. And 9/11 took years of planning.
I sincerely believe that we dodged a very, very frightening bullet in Denver this week. I am convinced that Mr. Dirie's death was a "work accident" that kept him from carrying out a plan to kill hundreds of Americans.
Of course, I could be wrong. There could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for a Muslim Somali living in Canada dying in a Denver hotel with a pound of cyanide barely a week before the Democratic National Convention. Or maybe he was just a lone nut.
But we don't dare presume that. We don't dare.